KOHIMA: The Hornbill Festival has put Nagaland on the global tourism map with the state recording a huge influx of tourists for the event from December 1 to 10 this year.
However, chief minister Neiphiu Rio feels there’s potential to attract more tourists. “We need to improve connectivity and have more hotels to carter to this rising number of tourists,” he said during an interaction with the media here.
Talking about the first aspect, Rio agreed that road conditions need to be improved. “Give me some more time,” he said. “I expect the roads to improve in the next two years,” he added.
However, the chief minister said the problem the hoteliers in the state face is that although there is a huge demand for rooms during the Hornbill Festival, “there’s less takers during rest of the year,” he said. “The state need to have a uniform flow of tourists throughout the year as that will only boost the tourism industry,” he stated.
The state is thus planning many mini Hornbill-type festivals throughout the year. “We have 16 major tribes in the state. Each tribe has its own distinct culture and festival. While the Hornbill Festival showcases the rich tradition of each and every tribe, we can celebrate the festivities of different tribes separately too,” Rio said. “In that case there will be some festival almost at every month and tourists can come all round the year. It will also boost tourism in different districts also as the tribes are spread over different regions,” he felt.
The state is also focusing on homestay facilities which are picking up fast all over the world. “We have a committee which visits and checks the facilities and other aspects once somebody offers his place for homestay. Tourists are invited to stay there only after it gets green light by the panel,” Rio stated.
The chief minister is also looking forward to quick completion of the proposed new airport near Kohima. The state government had planned a Greenfield airport at Ciethu, some 50km away from the state capital. Nagaland now has its only airport at Dimapur which cannot cater to large aircrafts. “The new one will have a longer runway. It’s expected to be ready by 2021 and that will surely be a shot in the arm for state tourism,” Rio said. By Archita Bhaduri